After an exhausting roller-coaster three weeks, the Giro rolled into Turin onto a neutralised circuit around the river Po. The jury awarded victory on the final sprint stage to Nikias Arndt. It would have been an Italian tifosi double-header had Giacomo Nizzolo not been disqualified for impeding Sacha Modolo in the final metres. Meanwhile, Vicenzo Nibali serenely crossed the line to rapturous applause having secured overall victory.
Rider(s) of the Race
Heartfelt congratulations to each and every rider who completed this year’s Giro. Everyone who finishes – whether it’s their first grand tour, first Giro or 14th consecutive grand tour – is a winner. It’s been an amazing and absorbing race and we’ve enjoyed so many fantastic performances, not just those from the jersey and stage winners.
Reputations have been cemented, rising stars have delivered on earlier promises, we have witnessed debut professional victories, maiden grand tour wins, the emergence of new names and new stars. We have seen amazing acts of sacrifice, touching moments of gracious generosity, there have been tears, no tantrums, and plenty of smiles – particularly from runner-up, Esteban Chaves.
While we’re marveling at glorious feats, let’s also spare a thought for those riders who were forced out of the race through illness or injury. Get well soon boys!
It ain’t over until the fat lady sings, but she was limbering up yesterday when Vincenzo Nibali attacked on the final climb of the penultimate stage to take the maglia rosa, which he retained on today’s largely processional stage. They say it’s easier to win a grand tour if you’ve already won one. Staring at a 4:40 deficit only a handful of days ago, many thought Nibali had blown it but, no, he’s shown true grit to take his second Giro d’Italia, fourth grand tour, eighth grand tour podium and the first national champion to win the Giro since Felice Gimondi in 1969. Having spent a total of 21 days in pink to date, Vincenzo sums up his winning formula:
This last week was very hard, but I too said to myself, ‘If I win or lose, it changes nothing.’ So perhaps I was freer mentally.
It’s worth noting that it’s the first time that there’s been only one Italian in the Giro overall top ten.
Champions in the making
There have been so many great performances in the 99th Giro d’Italia but it’s worth reflecting briefly on those of three other riders. It can only be a matter of time until Esteban Chaves wins a grand tour. After his defeat yesterday at the hands of Nibali, the race runner-up said:
I’ve only lost a bicycle race. There are more important things in life than this.
Fourth-placed, Steven Kruijwijk, will become a marked man in future tours. Fortunately, his shoulders are broad enough to carry the weight of expectation. Having also graced and lost the leader’s jersey, he showed great maturity and determination in finishing the race with a broken rib, though not a broken spirit.
And what about Bob Jungels? The future is surely bright for a young guy who’s proved he can both time-trial and climb mountains.
A final thought
There’s been plenty of twists and turns over the past three weeks but two of the pre-race favourites still finished on the podium, the third, Mikel Landa (Sky), regrettably bowed out early on. But if you cast your eyes over the top ten, it contains pretty much all the riders you would have expected to be there, save those who left ill or injured. But, if the result is pretty much more or less as anticipated, it doesn’t accurately reflect the thrilling ups and downs of the race. Congratulations should go to the course designer for crafting a parcours which maintained the tension until the last moment. The Giro is a beautiful race embraced by its loyal followers with an individual passion [for pink] not seen at the other grand tours. It’s only fitting that their amore has been rewarded with a local winner.
1. Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) 3:48:18
2. Matteo Trentin (Etixx-Quick Step) same time
3. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merdia) s/t
4. Alexander Porsev (Katusha) s/t
5. Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) s/t
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) 86:32:49
2. Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) +0:52
3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1.17
4. Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) +1:50
5. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) +4:37
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)
Point’s jersey: Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo)
KOM jersey: Mikel Nieve (Team Sky)
Best young rider: Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step)
For full review of the stage, go to Cycling News
Header image: 99th Giro d’Italia, the final podium RCS/Twitter